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How to Successfully Install Tile In 5 Easy Steps

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By : Pete Lisoskie    99 or more times read
If laying ceramic tiles is totally new to you, "How to Successfully Install Tile In 5 Easy Steps" is a set of basic but important tips that you will help you avoid making costly mistakes on your next bathroom or ceramic tile installation.

  • Plan which Tile
  • Shop around if you want to save
  • Prepare the surface for a long lasting job
  • Lay the tiles
  • Finishing touches

Plan which Tile

This step is often underestimated and sometimes even forgotten. Planning your ceramic tile installation from A to Z is probably one of the most important steps for a smooth, easy going and problem free bathroom tile installation.

Some things to remember are:

  • Suitability of the tile
  • Pattern /color of the tile
  • Size of the tile
  • Size of the area to be tiled to determine amount of tiles, grout, etc.
  • Adhesive, mortar or grout to suit your needs

Not all ceramic tile installations are the same, different tiling installations may require different mortar or grout. DO NOT feel shy about asking the suppliers for advice or help in calculating how much you need. They will gladly help you, as they are likely to make a sale.

Shop around if you want to save

This isn't as difficult as the first step, however when the budget is tight it can be tricky to find the right tile for the ceramic tile installation you want. You are going to have to make some compromises and so don't get carried away by the beauty of some of the ceramic tiles. Prices can vary a lot between different tiles, so some end up rather expensive.

Always shop around, it has never been easier. Just sit in front of the computer and use the Internet. Use local directories to find the suppliers close to you and pay them a visit.

Before making your final decision always check the chosen tile under different lights as the results can be surprisingly different.

Laying the ceramic tiles safely

Prepare the surface for a long lasting job before laying the ceramic tiles. The surface to be tiled (floor, wall or any other) will often need to be prepped. This means installing and underlayment between the sub-floor and the tiles. There are cement boards, underlayment membranes, and water proofing materials. If water proofing of the floor is desired, using wedi will both water proof and provide an excellent surface for tile adhesion. Always install the underlayment per manufacturer’s instructions.

Cutting ceramic tiles can also be a bit messy, if you don't want dust all over the house we suggest sealing the room you want to tile whenever possible. A large piece of plastic tacked or taped to the door frame will do the job quite well. To cut the tiles, you will need to rent a tile cutting saw at your local rental store. Make sure you wear safety goggles when cutting the tiles for eye safety.

Use rubber gloves when laying thinset or mastic to prevent contact with skin.

Spread the thinset using a ¼” square notched trowel. This will ensure the proper amount of thinset is being applied to the floor or walls to adhere the tiles properly. If you are installing a kitchen or bathroom backsplash, use of a mastic for adhesive is okay and tiles can be adhered onto the existing drywall.

Use tile spacers (found in tile or home improvement stores) to ensure consistent spacing between tiles. A common spacer size is 1/8”.

Before laying out the tile, measure the overall length and width of the room you will be tiling and then divide that number into the size of tile you purchased. For example, the room is 12 feet in length and you purchased 12” tiles. You will need exactly 12 tiles for the length of the room. If it is an odd measurement, try and hide the cut tiles in the back of the room so only a full tile is used at the entryway of the room. It is better for cosmetics and structural strength.

The finishing touches

Once the tile thinset or mastic has cured, you can grout. The grout is used to fill the spaces between tile. Which grout to choose either sanded or non-sanded? Sanded grout is typically used for tile spacings greater than 1/8”. Non-Sanded grout is used for spacings less than 1/8”.

To install the grout, mix by hand per manufacturer’s recommendations. Do not use a motorized drill when mixing or you will induce tiny air bubbles into the grout. When the grout cures these air bubbles will pop and your grout will too. Use a rubber faced trowel called a ‘float’ to spread the grout. Let the grout sit until a haze appears and then use a large sponge and clean water to wash the surface of the tiles. It is important the water stay clean to remove all the excess grout.

Once the grout has cured, you will need to seal the grout. Grout is porous and without sealer, dirt and mold gets into the pores and is very difficult to remove. Choose a tile sealer. Install with rubber gloves using a clean rag or sponge. Let sit to dry and floor is finished! You will need to reseal the tile every 6 months as the sealer can wear off.
Now that you have the basic idea of how to install tile in your bathroom or home, you may not have the time or desire to do it yourself. If you live in Washington state and have read this article and contacted us, you'll receive 10% off on your tiling job. Please visit our website at If you would like to ask a question of the author, please contact Pete at

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